Magic of Oils – Part 2 – Choosing a Carrier Oil

If you have seen my previous post about Oils, then you know I have been using a lot of different oils in my daily skincare routine. (I still have other oils to discuss in detail in upcoming posts) But you see all over internet about Coconut oil, Argan oil etc but it just doesn’t work for everyone, so lets understand a little more about types of oil and choosing the right carrier oil for you and your skin type.


Oils can be separated in two basic categories, namely Essential Oils and Carrier (Plant) Oils.

image source:Plant Therapy
  • Carrier oils are normally vegetable oils derived from the fatty parts of a plant, such as the seed, kernels or nuts; essential oils usually come from non-fatty areas such as bark, roots, stems, leaves and the aromatic portions of the plant.
  • Carrier oils are not very potent or concentrated, this is to say they will not normally burn or irritate your skin if applied directly. Essential oils, on the other hand, are very potent and should never be applied to skin directly as they can burn right through it or cause very severe skin irritation! They have to be diluted in a carrier oil.
  • The shelf life of a Carrier oil varies depending on the constituents of the oil, and Carrier oils do go rancid over time. Essential oils do not go rancid over time, but they do oxidize and lose their therapeutic benefits.
  • Carrier oils molecular structures are much heavier and larger than those of Essential oils and consist mainly of lipids, such as fatty acids, waxes, and fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K (substances which are not found in an Essential oil).
image source: nowfoods

Examples of Carrier Oil: Apricot, Jojoba, Coconut, Castor, Avocado, Almond, Macadamia, Chia Seed, Argan, Sea Buckthorn, Camellia, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Sweet Almond, Olive, Grapeseed, Walnut, Wheatgerm, Sesame, etc.

Examples of Essential oils: Flower/Leaves: Rose, Lavender, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Neroli, Mandarin, Rosemary,Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Evening Primrose, Peppermint or Mint, Marigold, Chamomile, Vetiver, Moringa, etc. Roots: Turmeric, Ginger, Sandalwood etc. Spices: Black Cumin, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Cardamom, Fenugreek, etc.

Lets talk the difference between Essential Oil – Extract – Infused Oil in another post.

Choosing a Carrier Oil: Since my life revolves around Coconut oil and it works fantastic for my skin and hair doesn’t mean that it will work the same for you. It was hard for me to understand and accept that Coconut Oil isn’t the only oil that can be used topically. Keep in mind that some oils are more comedogenic than others, meaning they are more likely to clog your pores. Coconut Oil is one of the most comedogenic oils, whereas almond, avocado and safflower oil are far less likely to cause breakouts. So my oily skin or acne prone girls choose the later. Any oil you use has the benefit of providing a coat through which moisture cannot evaporate.

Everyone’s skin is different , so feel free to experiment as long as your oil is unrefined and organic. Organic because you wouldn’t want to put pesticide residue on your face, and unrefined because the high-heat refining process damages compounds like polyphenols, which are important antioxidants. Many oils break down their ingredient listing based on how they were sourced. Some of the sourcing methods and nature of ingredients you may notice are Organic, Natural, Fair Trade, Wild Harvested, Natural, GMO free, USDA certified, from FDA approved facility.

Choosing the right kind of carrier oil and the one that suits to your skin type will make one step closer to love oils, because it is frustrating to try oils just for the hype and not having any real changes to you. Once the right carrier oil is selected, you can then do a bunch of concoctions aka oil blends with essential oils, and that will be in a different post!

Let me know how you like my series? Any suggestions on improvements are always welcome.

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